When the Honda City was around, Maruti Suzuki had no product to take on the king of the segment. We remember the Baleno sedan; it was bought and used by rally enthusiasts, but never succeeded in our market. The hugely robust and practical SX4 was off to a good start, but once the rivalry began catching up, it lost its appeal. It has been a different story with the Ciaz though – sales-wise, it has performed remarkably well so far, selling thousands of units every month as it continues to be among the top-selling cars in the Indian market. It has been constantly locking horns with Hyundai’s Verna and Honda’s City. Over the last few years, it has raced ahead of its rivalry on the sales charts, making it the best-selling sedan in the country. In 2018, Maruti gave the Ciaz some minor yet significant changes, including a facelift and, a bigger petrol engine with hybrid tech.
Got the looks, eh?
There has never been anything too in-your-face about the design of the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz; it has always been easy on the eye, and this is something Maruti Suzuki Cars have done on purpose, keeping in mind the goal of pleasing all customers. The facelift hasn’t really brought about vast changes; in fact, you’d need to be keen-eyed to spot the enhancements. However, the added bits on the outside do give it a premium look and it seems to work rather well for a car of its size. Look at the front grille and you will note that it runs between both headlamps with the upper and lower half of the grille getting chrome lining. There’s a lot of LED treatment up-front, like the LED DRLs, the LED fog lamps and the LED headlamps. No more horizontal slats on the grille; instead you get multi-layered lines with the badge in the middle. The lower half of the bumper gets mildly revised, with the fog light housings now sporting a chrome treatment. The side profile doesn’t sport any differences, except for the new 16-inch alloy wheels. At the rear, nothing has changed either, so you get the same tail lights, albeit with new LED inserts. The changes aren’t particularly prominent on the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, but look closer, and you will be able to tell the difference from the old car.
Like we’d mentioned earlier, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is a huge car, and that also means lots of interior space. At the back, occupants have lots of legroom available; there’s ample room for full-grown adults. The Ciaz hybrid’s lithium-ion battery is placed beneath the front passenger seat and surprisingly, won’t come in the way of your feet. Headroom could’ve been better, and we found ourselves perched high-up in the driver’s seat, which is good for short drivers. A notable change on the inside comes in the form of rear height-adjustable head restraints which prove to be quite comfortable. And boot space, at 510 litres, is massive. The dashboard comes with a new birchwood finish, giving it a classy look. There are also faint silver accents in the cabin. The steering, although the same, now gets buttons for cruise control. The instrument panel is new, sporting a bigger colour multi-information display in the middle, showing information related to the hybrid drive system. The car also features Maruti’s SmartPlay system.
A hybrid petrol only
Hybrid tech was initially offered solely on the old 1.3-litre diesel engined Ciaz. However, the same tech is now available on the new K15B 1.5-litre K Series petrol engine. But while the diesel had a single battery setup, the petrol model comes with a dual battery setup. In this case, the added lithium-ion battery offers assistance frequently because of its ability to charge faster. Maruti Suzuki Cars have given the Ciaz a petrol engine, producing 103bhp and 138Nm of torque, while mileage figures are 20.82kpl for the auto variant and 21.56kpl for the manual version. The engine is smooth, refined and it feels quite responsive when driving about in the city. However, you’ll have to put in some extra effort to get the engine and transmission working to squeeze out the maximum performance possible.
The manual gearbox is seamless to shift and the clutch is light, but the 4-speed torque-converter automatic isn’t particularly slick and feels a bit lethargic, often coming in the way of the engine’s power. We’d recommend the auto ‘box only to someone looking at convenience. The steering feels light – great for finding tight spots and squeezing into them. Also, since the Ciaz has been made keeping in mind ride comfort above all else, it has no issues dealing with bumps. The underbelly tends to scrape only the very big speed breakers. Some additional features include ESP, auto headlights and hill hold assist. Also, grab the latest info on the new cars, only at autoX.